- Published on Monday, 29 February 2016 14:00
- Written by Breanna Bright
Cape Ballroom is bringing a fun new activity to Cape Girardeau’s weekend. From the twirling West Coast Swing, to the simple Two-Step, they want to get people on the dance floor and turn Friday night into something memorable.
Dan Beeson is the organizer of Cape Ballroom. Having ballroom danced all his life he saw an empty niche in the area’s social life, “When I moved to this area there was no stable ballroom places,” Dan said. The idea to take matters into his own hands came when he went out one night and met a young lady who knew how to ballroom dance as well, “It just crystalized in my mind that I love to do this.” The two agreed to provide ballroom dance lessons together.
Cape Ballroom officially formed in October 2015. As they grew they had to move to different studio spaces, and are now settled at The Dockside in Downtown Cape. Every Friday Dan and his team of assistants give a dance lesson, followed by an open dance party. They also offer private lessons for couples and weddings.
“I believe the growth has shown that there was a need in the community for social dancing. We draw people from Poplar Bluff, Sikeston, Dexter, Perryville, even Anna, Illinois. We have filled a niche - a missing social thing to do.”
Not only does Cape Ballroom cover a wide region, but age range as well. College student-aged individuals like the Cape Roller Derby Girls, and SEMO’s Swing Club grace the dance floor, along with middle-aged couples, and even some elderly. Cape Ballroom encourages both singles and couples to attend, as they offer a line dance and partner mixing throughout the night.
Dan says Cape Ballroom is a very ‘non-bar’ atmosphere, “It’s clean-cut fun.” There is no smoking, and patrons are allowed to bring their own snacks and alcohol.
Dan says that ballroom isn’t just excellent exercise, “Dancing moves your soul . . . Some people say, ‘oh, that looks beautiful, I would love to do that, but I just can’t.’ And I say, ‘why not?’ Why not? We teach it, we teach dances.” Dan adds that the lessons are very low-pressure, people are invited to watch or dance as much as they want. They can mix and mingle, or stick with their own partner.
For people who feel dancing in front of others is simply too uncomfortable, Dan says, “Dance like nobody’s watching. People aren’t watching, they’re dancing themselves. It’s not a spectator sport. If you go scale a mountain do you worry that someone on the ground is going to be watching? No. We have beginners all the time. They’re having fun, come and have fun.”
Cape Ballroom teaches a different dance each Friday, including the West and East Coast Swing, the Cha-Cha, the Rumba, and more. The more lessons you attend, the easier it gets, “In just a few tries it becomes muscle memory. The learning process snowballs: when you come to one dance you’re learning steps that will be in two other dances in the future.”
Dan says that his humble goal is to give people a fun and sociable night out. He wants to see Cape Ballroom continue to grow, and pass a love of dancing on to the community and the next generation.
“Some people sit around and dream of dancing. Some people come out and dance.”
Cape Ballroom meets every Friday at The Dockside located at 4 Spanish Street. Lessons are held from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., after which an open dance is held until 11:30 p.m. Entry is $5 per person. For the month of March dance lessons are free to anyone who is a member of a Sheriff, Marshall, and Highway Patrol Departments. To learn more and see their weekly schedule, visit the Cape Ballroom website, or follow them on Facebook.